Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

By Colleen O’Connor

California professor Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers emailed that she “would be prepared to testify next week if the senators offer her “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”

But, not on Monday—as demanded by the GOP controlled Senate Judiciary Committee—which she contends is an arbitrary and rushed deadline.

If these “fair and safe” conditions can be met, the hearings convened to consent to Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court will happen.

The stakes are high. The issues gnarly at best. And the U.S. Senate seems less than unbiased in its approach.

The Republican-controlled Senate can stick to its ultimatum and then push ahead to vote the nominee out of committee and fast forward to a vote by the entire Senate. It’s hardly fair, but this is politics.

The President, who has no objection to a “pause,” could ask the FBI to do its job and investigate the high school assault claim against Kavanaugh. But this would take too long, so is not likely to happen.

Ford’s “safety issue” is the easiest to fix. She has received death threats and been forced to leave her home. But the government is certainly capable of protecting her and her family.

The request for fair terms is tough, however. It depends on what the definition of  “fair” is.

Enter Ivanka Trump, who reportedly is telling her father to “cut bait” and drop Kavanaugh. This could be the easiest off-ramp. The GOP would then name an even more conservative jurist to the court .

Except both individuals have been irreparably harmed already.

And unless more unflattering news begins to surface, the all-white-male Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will probably forge ahead—regardless of any electoral consequences this November.

So, how could we ensure “safety and fairness” and prevent the inevitable circus? Maybe there’s a better forum than a Senate hearing. What about television?

There’s something about a TV camera that magnifies the decency–or lack thereof—in people. Altered voice, rehearsed shrugs, faked sincerity, forced laughter—all come through as what they are—bogus imitations.

This is not a suggestion for a reality TV farce, but rather for serious interviews—one on one—in a private setting for all to see. Safe and fair. No antics. “Just the facts,” as Sgt. Joe Friday insisted on Dragnet.

Think about it. Professor Ford might be willing to appear on “60 Minutes “with Anderson Cooper interviewing. And Judge Kavanaugh could appear on Fox’s “Hannity” show.

Or better still, the White House press corps could offer suggestions on the forum, the interviewer and the time frames and queries to be asked.

Then both Ford and Kavanaugh could make their case on their own schedule, in a safe venue, while avoiding a spectacle — and sparing the country a circus performance.

It’s something to ponder. Anything is better than what currently lies ahead.


Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.

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